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Friday, 15 June 2012

Rainham RSPB

June 14th

As is my habit after checking on the Peregrines in London from dawn, I always head for another local patch after to catch up, the sun was out at last so I decided to visit the reserve.
I don’t get over here nowhere near as much as I used to, it is looking very good so I decided on a circuit around the site starting along the sea wall to Aveley Bay.
The tide was rising fast and virtually the first birds seen were 2 Common Sandpipers followed shortly after by a single Oystercatcher and 4 Redshank on the mud. The first brood of Shelduck were also seen with a fresh group of 9, always good to see, they have a hard time of it here due to the Tip and the large Gulls that are present.

Common Whitethroats

Moving onto the Reserve produced 2 Common Terns going back to the river and my first Common Darter of the year.
I also came across 2 very large Caterpillars, around 3 inches long, initially I thought Hawkmoth but cannot match them to anything in the book, in the end I think they may well be Oak Egger Caterpillars, still not sure though.

Oak Eggers?

Black Tailed Skimmers females were also seen with around 6 showing in the sunlight, again these were a first.
I also saw a Grey Heron ambush a Moorhen chick, unfortunately it strayed and paid the price, nature is nature and it happens every minute of the day.

Black Tailed Skimmer

About ¾ of the way round I spotted a Tiercel Peregrine way up in the blue, as you do I got a couple of photos of him and as I did this he went into a shallow dive. I kept the finger on the trigger and presently another raptor came in view and evaded him at the last minute.

Records shots - starting the dive


Casting back up after missing

Reviewing the photos I am pretty sure it is a Hobby, they were both miles away but outline and shape and a little bit of colour match. Was he going for it in earnest or just driving it off?
Who knows, they take Kestrel and Sparrowhawk so it is a possibility.
A very enjoyable walk and rounded off by a cheese and onion toasty in the centre, diet be damned.